Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mileage Runs and Birthday Celebrations

March has sped by like a hot wheeling testosterone laden teenage boy. Zoom!

 
 

 
 

The first weekend in March Jonathan accompanied me for our first official mileage run. We have a new hobby! Some people pick up golf, some try their hand at ballroom dancing. We've taken up random travel for the sake of accumulating miles and status with our airline. There is quite a group of people from all over the world who participate in this. Most of them converge on www.flyertalk.com . Here we share cheap fare finds, chat about our upcoming itineraries, plan parties and get-togethers across continents and reach out to strangers who share our love of flying. Jon and I are finding that outside of the core group on Flyertalk most people who find out about mile running think we are all crazy. Jetting all over the place on purpose? For short weekends and same day turnarounds? Our friends and coworkers can't see the fun or sense in it. I'm just glad Jonathan and I found something we both love and can throw ourselves into together. It's going to be a fun year as we trot all over the globe in our new pursuit. Anyway, back to our first MR (mileage run) together- we went to Vegas for dinner. For dinner! :) And a little gambling thrown in for good measure of course. We arrived into LAS at half past midnight and took the shuttle straightaway over to Ellis Island Casino. Best late night food just off the strip. I tried my hand at black jack for the first time (up $150 then back down to the $20 I came in with) since the craps table was closed. We had a huge meal and then played in the casino until 5:30am when it was time to head back to the airport for our return trip.

 
 

Second weekend in March was a 50/50 mix of great and terrible. Great: It was my birthday weekend, and this year's themed birthday party was Marie Antoinette. My friend Dani hosted the party at her home and a handful of my friends gathered for the celebrations in costume. I'll be posting a lot of pics from the party once I get the chance. In the meantime, here is a spoiler to keep your interest:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2279387&l=590cf5b3eb&id=603259739

 
 

So the terrible aspect of the weekend? My father went into the hospital with GI bleeding that the doctors could not find the source of. Tons of tests, one week, two colonoscopies, two secondary diagnoses (polyps and diverticulitis), and several blood transfusions later, he is finally home. He is working on getting his strength back with Mom's help and we are so glad God pulled him through his ordeal. Meanwhile, we are considering pursuing legal action against hospital. Wait until you read what they did. I hope it infuriates you as much as it did me. The hospital decided to release him just on Friday, but without compliance with state law did *not* present him and his wife (nor myself, his secondary caregiver) with a discharge plan and counseling session. Oh no, instead they hurriedly had him sign papers (that he didn't even understand the content of) and transferred him over to a dirtbag nursing home with orders for 2 addl weeks of rehab. How did we find out? THE HOSPITAL LEFT VOICEMAIL FOR MY MOTHER. Voicemail! I was livid. I contacted the rehab nursing home (given some of the worst ratings btw in VA) and asked why he needed to be there and their reply was "It's a free service paid for by Medicare, why wouldn't you want him here for recovery?" They lied and told me my father wanted to be there but of course when we talked to him he begged to come home. We went straightaway to pick him up and found that those bastards had left him alone in an end room in a diaper. A diaper! The man is perfectly continent. Way to strip a person of their dignity. He was so humiliated and desperate to come home. He was able to walk just fine and excited to leave. I held it together on the way home and at my parents apartment as I worked with mom to make arrangements for outpatient physical therapy or home nursing visits to help ensure he gets 100% back to where he was before he went to the hospital. We could not get in touch with the hospital DR to get a copy of the discharge orders and list of medications the hospital wanted him on - he never returned our call. God help those seniors who don't have a family to advocate for them. As soon as we got back in the car after saying goodbye to my parents I fell apart. I wept all the way home for my parents, for what had been done to them, and admittedly a little for Jon and I again. Who is going to rescue us from the abuse of an inhumane hospital system in financial cahoots with dirtbag nursing homes to suck out as much money from medicare as possible? Who is going to save us from diapers and forced relocation? It terrifies me.

 
 

Aside from juggling caregiving dramas with my father, this weekend I've been preparing for some big project deadlines at work, a SAS programming conference this week in DC (starts tomorrow, should be fun), and our upcoming trip to Dublin, Ireland this last weekend in March. A lot of activity crammed into one week, but hopefully I will keep my head above water.

 
 

Spiritually, I've been keeping the lines of communication open with God and wondering whether he is disappointed in me in that I'm set to go off traveling with Jonathan and enjoying life a lot lately rather than toiling in some self-sacrificial way to feed starving children in Africa or something. I mean I love my God, my job, my husband, my fun life of traveling and community involvement. But I feel guilty- like it's not supposed to be this easy and enjoyable. I should have some cross to bear, some suffering to do for Christ in order to be holy right? I see so much misery and sadness around us in our friends' lives with job losses, severe illnesses, parenting and marital struggles, and I think it's and injustice that I should be so happy.

 
 

My sweetest sister Suzie is coming to live with us April 9th for an indefinite period of time. I am looking forward to her time here and am excited to be in a position to help her the way she helped me 11 years ago when I turned to her and she took me in. I hope we can grow closer and that even perhaps her rift with Daddy can be healed and that she could find her way back to God. Only time will tell.

 
 

Some of my other sisters have come out of the woodwork to cozy up to me b/c they think Daddy might be dying and I have access to all his money. The joke's on them and their two-faced insincere pandering- Daddy has no money! So I'll quietly let them suck up and pretend they care about me and Daddy and watch them spin in circles of anger once Daddy dies (hopefully many years from now and not soon) and they find out they wasted their time sucking up b/c he had nothing to leave them. I'm not as bitter as it reads here, I'm just angry that they've treated me like I was a stranger (or worse been hateful to me) my whole life and now they want to make nice-nice for the sake of getting money they think is laying around somewhere. They really don't love Daddy at all.

February Happenings

It would be nice to reach a state of organization whereby I am no longer a month behind on my blog posts. To dream…to dream….

 
 

February was dominated by continued recovery from pneumonia, with a dash of fine dining thrown in. I spent the first two weeks of the month slowly regaining my health and strength, grateful that the run to Quebec had not set me back at all. I worked my way back to 4 days a week at the gym for an hour of cardio each session plus strength training. I felt on top of the world again.

 
 

I spent the first weekend in February in NYC with friends for our annual Broadway getaway. This year we stayed at the very cozy and posh 76 Park Avenue Hotel. Just our luck many guests at the hotel were in town for the Westminster Dog Show with cute little toy dogs in tow. They were everywhere and adorable! Our chosen play was Mamma Mia and I loved it. The music (all ABBA of course) was fun and at the end of the show the whole audience was up off our seats belting out Dancing Queen under the flashing stage lights. It's in these happy moments I close my eyes and think to myself "Life is too good, something bad is probably going to happen henceforth to maintain justice in the universe".

 
 

Restaurant week began Feb 16th and my supper club had a dinner at a different DC establishment scheduled every night. (Restaurant week is when fine restaurants normally $100+ a dinner offer a prix fixe menu for only $35. It happens twice a year and is a great opportunity to sample some of the region's best cuisine.) All of the dinners were delightful but our dinner at Citronelle stood out as a shining star. Best food of my life, second only to Le Cinq in Paris. In addition to the sensational tastes of what we were served I should comment on the presentation of the food - it was creative and beautiful. We were there for 4+ hours, laughing and chatting and left with a copy of the restaurant's cookbook in hand. One of my tablemates took some great shots of the courses and I shall post them once she sends them onto me.

 
 

Alas, all the social gatherings and public exposure to people in DC every day resulted in a relapse of my pneumonia. So I spent the next two weeks after the fabulous restaurant week recovering *again* and losing ground at the gym.

 
 

Next up: March recap. And what an activity packed month it has been so far...